Mauro Forghieri, the great Italian racing car designer, has died at the ago of 87. He was without question the greatest such designer of the second half of the 20th Century. He was often compared to Colin Chapman at Lotus, but he was perhaps even more significant for while Chapman was a great chassis designer, Forghieri designed entire cars, including both chassis and engines. Forghieri spent over 25 years at Ferrari, taking over as head of design for the Scuderia Ferrari after the tumultuous senior resignations at the end of the 1962 season. Not since the times of Vittorio Jano at Alfa Romeo in the 1930s or at Lancia in the 1950s had anyone accomplished as much as Forghieri.
Forghieri’s father had worked at Ferrari so Enzo Ferrari was willing to take on his son who had recently graduated from Bologna University. Although Forghieri thereby was in place to finish the design of such important racing cars as the 250 GTO and led the design of the 250 LM, as well as the famous prototypes of the mid-1960s, he is most well known for his F1 cars of the1970s, powered by his 180° flat 12 cylinder motors and his ability to take early advantage of the new art of racing car aerodynamics. His talents were to assist in the World Championships of Niki Laura and Jody Scheckter and he worked closely with the great Gilles Villeneuve.
Forghieri resigned from Ferrari in 1987 during the beginning of increasing Fiat influence throughout Ferrari. He went on to design a new V12 F1 motor for Lamborghini Engineering.
In a private dinner in a small restaurant in Formigine, near Maranello, now over 30 years ago, Forghieri said that his best day at Ferrari was the day he left the company. He was by then consumed by the politics combined with a years-long atmosphere of betrayal that haunted him. Perhaps part of this feeling lay at the door of Enzo Ferrari who used to act as an “agitator of men,” which set one against another in harsh way to maximize results.
Photos by Nigel Snowden ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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